Nine of 17 Missouri duck boat victims members of the same family
21 July, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
Attendees at a vigil in Branson, Mo., on Friday, July 20, 2018, lay flowers in the parking lot of a duck boat tour company after 17 people died when a boat sank on Thursday.People pray outside Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator involved in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.
Divers will resume searching Table Rock Lake outside the town of Branson a day after the "Ride the Ducks" amphibious vehicle sank, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters at a news conference late on Thursday.
In their initial assessment, authorities blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength.
The waves began to churn, rocking a duck boat that had set out with 31 people - 29 passengers and two crew members. Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus, and 13 people died in 1999 when a duck boat sank near Hot Springs, Ark.
Authorities had not publicly identified the dead but said they included a 1-year-old child.
The National Transportation Safety Board was to send a team early Friday to investigate the incident, the agency said.
Gerald Dworkin, a consultant for Lifesaving Resources, an aquatics safety training firm in ME, said, "Even if they were wearing a life jacket when the boat went down, unless they could evacuate through the side windows they would've been trapped by that canopy".
Ripley Entertainment, the parent company of Ride the Ducks Branson, said it recently acquired the vessel involved in the incident.
"We will do an analysis of the facts and approximately one year later - one year from now - we should have a probable cause and a report for the general public", Earl Weener of the NTSB said Friday night.
The boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II.
At least 17 people, including several children, were killed in the accident.
Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident.
As for the survivors, four patients were still in the hospital Friday evening, including two adults in critical condition.
Tia Coleman said she and a nephew were the only survivors of their 11-strong family group who were aboard the "duck boat".
She raised concern surrounding the safety of the boat tour, noting the captain had told the passengers not to put on life jackets during the storm.
A duck boat is a land-to-sea vehicle that has tires to travel on the road and can drive into water and cruise on a lake or river, just like a boat.
Josh Daniel, a local, organized the vigil on Friday, which took place in the parking lot for the Ride the Ducks boat tour - a spot where the vehicles driven to the tourist attraction by the victims still Saturday.
One witness' video shows two other boats struggling to get through the choppy waters. "They're not fit for water or land because they are half auto and half boat".
The first boat's crew was able to pull two people from the waves, Cox said. These include the popular canopy roofs that were added to the boat's design in later years, and which experts say poses a safety risk for passengers trying to escape in the event of an emergency.
Five people are missing, the sheriff said. "We pray for all those who were affected by this awful tragedy". "It was a great loss for the church", Oakes said.
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